advertisement
FYI

Five Questions With… Dave Bidini

The indie rock hero and prolific author is also the publisher of Canada’s newest print newspaper, West End Phoenix. He hosts a telethon for the non-profit publication in Toronto on Saturday, and he discusses the project in this interview.

Five Questions With… Dave Bidini

By Jason Schneider

On Saturday, June 9, Canada’s newest print newspaper, West End Phoenix, will stage a telethon (remember those?) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Toronto's redoubtable Gladstone Hotel in efforts to drive subscriptions and re-subscribe existing supporters.


The telethon will be live-streamed on the West End Phoenix YouTube channel. Host and publisher Dave Bidini (also of Rheostatics) will be joined by house band Mercenaries, who will play selections from the Wheel of Song, which subscribers will get to spin. The WEP Telethon will also feature banks of operators taking calls from re-subscribers and accepting subscriptions and donations on site. Scheduled telethon guests include Atom Egoyan and TSN’s Jay Onrait, along with performances by Michie Mee, Sam and Andrew Cash, and Sloan's Chris Murphy.

advertisement

Bucking media trends, West End Phoenix, launched as a print newspaper in 2017, has published over 300 writers and artists in its first year. WEP is a non-profit, patron and subscriber-supported home delivered broadsheet and remains ad-free with 2000 subscribers.

The WEP Telethon number is already live—1-866-416-NEWS—to call in and hear testimonials by subscribers such as actor Denis Leary as well as poetry by Claudia Dey and music by Rheostatics with Alex Lifeson (a regular contributor) and Kevin Hearn. There will also be a draw for one lucky subscriber to win two nights at the Windermere House Resort Hotel in Muskoka, courtesy of Windermere and West End Phoenix. For more info, go to westendphoenix.com.

 

How did you come up with the idea to do a telethon?

Christina Zeidler, who runs Gladstone, and Janet Morassutti, who is our managing editor, looked at each other and joked: “Our operators are standing by to take your call!” And then we just started dreaming. 

West End Phoenix has been publishing since October. How would you describe the response?

advertisement

We’ve had a very positive response. It’s a challenge every day to keep spreading the word because of a small staff, but we are overwhelmed by how much people love it.

The paper bills itself as serving its community, but you have many high-profile contributors filing from across the country. Do you foresee the paper expanding its reach?

We have about 300 subscribers across the country to whom we mail, so definitely. 

It's perhaps ironic that the paper is based in "Ford Nation." Is this something you're conscious of?

No, not exactly. We serve most of the West End of the city, although we do cover some stuff west of Humber [Etobicoke]. But our catchment is Humber to Spadina, and from St. Clair to the Lake. Still, we have all kinds of subscribers of every stripe.

Do you think West End Phoenix could be a model for other potential community papers in Canada?

It’s hard to say if we’re successful yet. We’ll see!

advertisement
Tanya Tagaq
Katrin Naleid

Tanya Tagaq

Tv Film

Tanya Tagaq Plays a Pivotal Role in 'True Detective' Season Finale

The Inuk artist provides vocals for the HBO series' soundtrack, and her song "Submerged" scores a pivotal moment in the season finale on which she appears as an actress.

The new season of True Detective wrapped up this weekend, and timed with the tense final episode, HBO also released the show's gripping soundtrack. Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq, one of the most celebrated contemporary musicians in Canada, contributed to seven songs on the soundtrack as well as making appearances in the show herself.

Subtitled Night Country, the fourth season of the HBO detective show takes place in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska. It stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as Liz Danvers and Evangeline Navarro, two police officers trying to figure out how the recent bizarre deaths of six scientists are linked to the murder of Iñupiaq activist Annie Kowtok. Through its mystery framing, the show explores themes like colonial violence, environmental destruction, and missing and murdered Indigenous women.

keep readingShow less
advertisement